Tag Archives: Disney

Getting Outside Myself

Tuesday Re-mix:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.  Psalm 22:1-2

I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!  Psalm 22:22-23

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I spent Spring Break in Orlando, doing the theme park thing. Universal, Disney…and roller coasters. Sometimes I don’t do so well on roller coasters.  It’s not the huge lifts. It’s not the plunging drops. It’s not the twisting turns. What gets to me is the cumulative effect of all of them…again and again and again. I feel sick just remembering.

David, the writer of poetry and shepherd of sheep and singer of songs and dancer of dances and slayer of giants and armies…David, the writer of so many of the Psalms…exhausts me!  He is just so very dramatic, don’t you think?  His “highs” are so much higher than I can even imagine and his lows are so much lower than I can connect with.  He is an emotional roller coaster!

Me?  Not so much, really.  I am pretty even-keeled.  But I do know the feeling of being “lost” in myself…of feeling so sorry for myself that I lose sight of anyone else around me.  My emotional roller coaster may not have the neck-breaking turns and heart-stopping plunges which David’s had…but I can at least connect with the desire to stop the ride so I can get off!

Here is an important thing about David: as emotionally unpredictable as he appears to be, his ongoing …

“Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine…”

Tuesday Re-mix –

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.  And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:16-21 (emphasis added)

I honestly do not remember why or when I went to the trouble of circling all the personal pronouns in this passage in my Bible.  I suspect it was a sermon somewhere sometime.  But the circles are all still there, and it really does paint a clear picture.  The “rich fool” in this parable was totally self-absorbed and focused first and foremost on his own comfort level.  This point seems to be central to Jesus’ parable…and to God’s perspective on giving.

I cannot think about the concept of “mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, etc.” without thinking about the seagulls in Disney-Pixar’s Finding Nemo.  Remember these guys?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feTytlRd2KY?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

I suppose there are a lot of ways to measure how much you or I “give” to something.  For example, maybe you have a boss who expects you to give “one hundred, ten percent” and measures you that way.  Or maybe you had a coach in school who wanted you to “leave it all on the …

Does Church Size Matter for Unity Purposes?

Tuesday Re-mix –

Ever been in the Lego store at the World of Disney?  It’s amazing.  They have HUGE displays of things built entirely of Legos.  It is impressive when you think about the time it takes to connect each of those tiny little blocks together, one connection at a time.

It takes time to do that.  It takes effort to make sure each connection is secure.  But the result is impressive.  And in typical American spirit, the bigger it is, the better it is, right?

There is much talk these days about bigger churches versus smaller churches.  When I first ran this post, Ed Stetzer had just posted this article about Spiritual Transformation in smaller churches, compared to larger ones.  It is a compelling conversation, to be sure.  He encouraged smaller churches to “celebrate your significance”…after all, isn’t scripture filled with stories of a very big God using very little individuals and groups to accomplish world-changing things?  He also points out how important it is for our people to have opportunities to tell their stories of how God has changed them.  His point is that spiritual transformation is just as possible in the smaller church as it is in the large congregation.

But what about church unity?  Is it easier to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” in a smaller church or in a large one?  Is unity in any way tied to numbers?

Back to the Legos…

Unity in a church is nothing more and nothing less than having right, God-honoring relationships among the people of that church.  In other words, it is the individual connections between the people which end up reflecting either unity or disunity.  It is our ability to find Christ himself in one another which will determine how much …

Solving the Puzzle of God’s Will for Your Church (When My Piece Is Not Critical)

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

My girls grew up with Disney.  Being girls, it was always the Disney heroines which had their attention: Belle, Ariel, Jasmyn, Mulan, and of course, Cinderella and Snow White.  But it was when we started putting Disney character puzzles together that I made an important discovery: with the obvious exception of the “ethnic” differences, all the princesses’ faces looked the same.  So if you are putting together a puzzle and you have the piece that shows just the face, it doesn’t tell you much about which puzzle you have.  Is it Cinderella or Aurora?  Is it Belle or Ariel?  No way to tell…not without the other pieces.

puzzle-piece

Isn’t that always the case with puzzles?  There are some pieces which end up being critical to finding out what the picture is and then there are pieces which do not end up helping that much, like the piece at the very bottom right hand corner that has the words “Milton Bradley” on it…doesn’t really tell us much about the picture.

Putting together the puzzle which is God’s will for your church on a given issue is like that.  We all bring a piece to the table.  We would each like to think that our particular piece is critical to this picture, that it will determine the big picture for the whole church.  We each examine our individual piece and begin extrapolating and speculating about what the big picture must surely be: “I have the most important piece, the one that tells the entire story…this must be a picture of Milton Bradley!” Then, when we begin looking at all the other pieces and see how far off our own piece is from the big …

Better Than Disneyworld

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

While at the International Christian Retail Show last Summer in Orlando, my wife and I sneaked away one day to visit Epcot Center (please don’t tell my publicist). I’ve always been amazed at how well the Disney Corporation anticipates the needs of folks who visit their theme parks. They really do a marvelous job of sitting and thinking about all the possible needs a visitor might have and then putting reasonable amenities in place to meet those needs. Then I got to thinking (that’s when things get dangerous), what might the experience be like if they actually knew everything about my particular family and knew the day we would be coming and wanted to tailor our experience to fit our specific needs? Now THAT would be a ride worth taking!

Reading Ephesians 1:1-14, that is exactly what we have as followers of Christ. Our God knew (before time began) exactly when we would come to be “in Christ” and He has put together a lifetime of experiences and lessons custom-made for us. He knows our fears and our passions. He knows our inmost being. He has orchestrated experiences, both good and bad, which are designed to grow us and to bring us into a closer relationship with Him. He knows exactly what we can handle and what we cannot handle. He knows exactly what will turn us toward Him. He knows all the resources we will need and stands ready to provide them. He has adopted us into His family, giving us access to the resources of the kingdom. Moreover, He knows exactly how and when we will mess up or become rebellious, and he has factored that in and has …